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Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The following short conversation happened between my fourteen-year-old daughter and me.
Angie: Mama, I heard that in China and Russia there is no rich people? Everybody’s financial condition is average?

Nana: Yes, honey. They apply socialist belief proposed by some socialist thinkers, like Karl Marx. The government has policy to limit the riches of the people, not very rich people, nor very poor people.
Angie: Don’t you think it is nicer there than in Indonesia, Mama?
Nana: (sigh) Well, honey, probably it is nicer there for us, who are not rich. The rich people in our country will have different opinion, I am sure.

The following short conversation happened between two colleagues of mine.

Lucky: See the condition in Indonesia nowadays. Everything is messy. Many children suffer from bad nutrition, the price of gasoline soars crazily, it results in poor people almost cannot afford to buy daily needs, violence happens here and there. Don’t you think that the condition under Soeharto era was much more comfortable?

Annie: Well, I suppose the condition under Soekarno was much better than Soeharto. Everybody was poor. (Well, she referred to the accusation that Soekarno was the protector of Communist Party. Communist policy is not much different from Socialist that everybody is not allowed to be very rich coz it will engender social gap. Social gap will cause social unrest. Social unrest will result in the down of the government.)

Some days ago, when I got flat tyre, I took my motorcycle to a garage. I saw an old man driving a pedicab. I sighed. Such an old man is supposed to enjoy his old age by staying at home, watching his grandchildren grow up. But recently after the soaring price of gasoline in Indonesia, nobody hasn’t complained about the price of daily needs. Some people even cannot buy rice to eat. I believe this old man still has to work hard in his old age to make his ends meet. Sometimes perhaps he will only get Rp. 10000,00 (around US$ 1) per day.

At the same time, I remembered an ex private student of mine who happened to have a very rich husband. She treated me dinner several times some months ago. For one dinner, she had to spend Rp. 300000,00 (around US$ 30) for both of us.

What an irony.

And Indonesian government is even busier to take care of regulation to arrange how women should dress, walk, and move in public rather than to think the way out how to help the needy, to reduce the financial gap among its citizens.

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